Not every team starts Franchise Mode with a stacked roster. If you are taking over the Philadelphia Eagles or Minnesota Vikings there isn't much you can do to improve the roster, but for most teams there are plenty of holes that a great coach or general manager would try to plug. The easiest way for NFL teams to get better is usually through the draft, but Madden franchise mode drafts are often a roulette wheel of first-round busts and late-round diamonds. How can you optimize your strategy to get the most talent possible? Don't worry, we have a plan.
Maximize Scout Points
You get 175 points to scout college players per week unless you pick the "Strategist" archetype when you create your coach. If you do that, then you get a bonus 25 scout points per week thanks to the "Expert Scouting" upgrade that costs 1,400 XP.
Scouting opens in Week 3 of the regular season. To optimize your points you should spend them all every week, since you lose half of what you have left when you hit Advance Week. However, that doesn't mean you should just fully scout players immediately. Unlock the first stat so you can see if the player is worthwhile to invest more points in. If his first stat is a B- or above you can probably unlock the second stat.
Start by unlocking the first stat for as many players as you can in positions you need to fill. As the season progresses you can begin to refine your search as it will become obvious which positions require fresh talent.
Keep An Eye On The News
It's a hidden little feature in Madden 19, but the news section will often have draft stories about prospects in the upcoming draft. Those with a family history of football or who get headlines for their performances are most likely to become future NFL stars. These stories can help focus your efforts, especially if they are talking about a quarterback and you are in need of a new signal caller.
The combine is not overly useful in real life, with work out warriors often turning into horrific busts. In Madden though, it's a nice indicator of how a players stats will break down. Speed at cornerback and wide receiver is vital, so keep an eye on 40-yard dash times, 3-cone drills and 20-yard shuttles. The vertical jump is a nice way of measuring explosiveness, but for the outside positions you can ignore bench press. That is only important when you get to the offensive and defensive lines where you need them to be strong. Combine stats are available in the second week of free agency, meaning you have to do the vast majority of your scouting before the combine stats are available.
This is why you shouldn't scout every player completely. Leave the third stat until you know they are good athletes, and for the late round talents you can leave the second stat and unlock it if they dominate the combine.
A combination of good skills and combine scores usually leads to a good player, if they've had some draft stories too then they are likely to become superstars.
There is usually a very linear progression pattern in Madden. Players improve until they peak around 27-29, and then they go into decline, losing points off key stats at the end of the season. That means that a 21-year-old rookie has far longer to build up to his peak than a 24-year-old player. Even if there is a 25-year-old guard that looks like a killer, you should prioritize a younger player as they will still have plenty left to give by the time you negotiate a second contract with them.
Don't Be Afraid To Trade
It's tough to extract value from the computer in trading, especially on draft day. If you are sitting at the top of the draft and there is a star quarterback available that you don't need you would be right to hope for a massive trade offer like the Rams gave Tennessee or the Eagles gave Cleveland. You won't get it though. The computer will make trade offers for your picks, but they are rarely great. Conversely, if you want to trade up it will cost you a lot, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
If your franchise is floundering without a quarterback and your scouting shows there is only one good passer in the class, then you have to get him. If you are in desperate need of a pass rusher and three of the best four are already gone, then trading up to get your guy is fine. You can always recoup picks by trading back in the later rounds when talent is much closer together. From round 4 onwards the computer is far more likely to offer you a higher round pick next year, meaning you can use future picks as trade bait to move up early on in the draft, and then flip your fifth-round pick for a fourth-rounder next year to restock your future draft class.
There is also the fact that the late rounds of a draft become a lottery. There are one or two really good players within the mass of players left, and the more picks you have, the more likely you are to hit on one of those hidden gems. I'm not saying trade down so much that your #1 overall pick turns into 7 fifth-round picks and 19 seventh-rounders, but there is nothing wrong with moving down a few picks in the second or third round to get an extra fourth rounder to see if you can find a diamond.
Don't Be Afraid Of A Reach
When you draft a player Madden will give you an indication of if your pick was good or not based on the players OVR compared to the field. If it says you reached because his true talent was #44 and you picked him #30 then don't worry, because that still may be the best player you could have! There's no point taking the #12 true talent in a draft class if he is just going to sit behind your All-Pro running back.
It's also important to remember that OVR isn't everything. If you need a corner and you get one with good speed and good coverage then who cares if his OVR is 72, he is still the upgrade you need that will make your team better.
There it is, the plan to dominate your franchise draft and quickly improve even a broken franchise. Good luck!